AKP district mayor to allocate money for foundations despite Istanbul mayor's move to cut support

The municipal council of Istanbul's Güngören district, in which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) holds the majority, authorised the mayor to spend 500,000 liras ($87,500) in joint work with foundations, left-leaning daily Evrensel said on Sunday.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) new Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu promised during last local elections that the municipal resources would not be used for funding government-affiliated groups. 

The council of Güngören municipality entitled AKP mayor Bünyamin Demir the authority to allocate not more than 500,000 lira ($87,500) yearly in social, cultural, educational projects with foundations based on "national and common values", Evrensel said.

The decision passed the council despite CHP members' rejections, according to the daily.

In his efforts to cut the donations to civil society and charitable organisations run by Islamist organisations, he annulled agreements with six educational and religious foundations.

The reports on Turkish media revealed that Istanbul spent almost 848 million lira ($151 million) to support foundations, associations, and schools during 2017 and 2018, with the largest share (74.3 million lira, or $14 million) going to the Turkey Youth Foundation, TUGVA, of which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan sits on High Advisory Board.